Collaborative emergency project to document heritage sites of Ukraine has been launched in March, 2022 with generous funding from Aliph Foundation. The partnership is between UCL Institute of Archaeology, primarily represented by Gai Jorayev and Marco Nebbia, Global Heritage Fund (GHF), primarily represented by its executive director Nada Hosking, and Tatyana Krupa, a leading Ukrainian archaeologist and conservator who is currently based in Pavlodar University of Kazakhstan and acts a coordinator of activities of group of Ukrainian scholars.
The project is aiming to create a baseline geospatial database of cultural heritage of Ukraine (as much as possible) and then to gather information from local sources. The project team have the knowledge of Ukraine and its heritage, aware of the existing sources of information and have identified clear steps for systematising those sources and adding onto them by using satellite imagery and logging information about damage to heritage wherever it is possible and safe to do so. The project has established channels of communications with other initiatives that are working on remote monitoring of Ukraine’s cultural heritage and envisages data sharing with majority of them. Over the 6 months period, the project hopes to create a documentation platform that will serve as a beginning of a larger, more substantial documentation and information effort for the future. This endeavour does not see immediate and short-term documentation activity to be its end result; rather, this is seen as a platform for nationally and internationally significant effort that could contribute to long-term management and protection of heritage as well as post-conflict recovery and accountability. It is hoped that this initial stage will allow the team to build up a network of Ukrainian specialists who can contribute to documentation and preservation effort and who can be supported directly during these extremely challenging times.
The situation in Ukraine remains fluid and the project team are keen to stress that the changes in approaches are likely. Nevertheless, the first month of the project showed that the existing methods could be successful and there is a plan for initiating larger and long-term endeavour at the end of the initial 6 month period.